Whether it’s a warm day of summer or a crisp fall afternoon, the trails in Grays Harbor are just waiting to be explored. For each section of the county, we’ve listed out a handful of enchanting trails to explore. There are plenty of trails in Grays Harbor to hike, bike or walk. No matter the time of the year, take a day trip to Grays Harbor for hiking, biking and walking enjoyment.
East County is the first portion of Grays Harbor that visitors driving from Olympia and Seattle will encounter, making it a fantastic option if you’re short on time. The area’s sprawling, untouched lands and crystal-clear lakes await your arrival.
Wynoochee Lake and Dam
Exit off of Highway 12 onto Devonshire Road just west of Montesano. Cross Devonshire Road, then cross Pioneer Avenue and continue on Wynoochee Valley Road/FR 22. Drive about 35 miles.
Located about an hour’s drive north from the city of Montesano is the beautiful Wynoochee Lake and Dam. With the Olympic Mountains towering overhead, begin your day by stopping at the Dam that was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1972. This area serves as the starting point for the 16-mile Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail. If you have children in tow, consider venturing down a mile or two of the trail before turning back and taking a dip in the refreshing shores of the lake. Another trail option in the area includes the beautiful nearby Spoon Creek Falls that is less than 0.5 miles long.
Lake Sylvia Loop Trail
Drive west on Highway 12 and take the exit for Montesano. From here, signs guide you to turn right onto Main Street, then make a left on Spruce Avenue. Turn right on 3rd Street, which turns into Sylvia Lake Road, and drive 1.2 miles.
Pass through charming downtown Montesano and up into the forest to uncover Lake Sylvia Trail. At just 2.8 miles, this easily accessible trail loops along the upper lake, the nearby river and amongst old-growth trees. The area around Lake Sylvia was once an old logging site for many years, so keep an eye out for artifacts. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.
Vance Creek Park
Located adjacent to Highway 12 and just west of Elma near the Elma Municipal Airport.
Vance Creek Park is yet another historically relevant park in Grays Harbor. The park’s namesake, Joseph Alexander Vance, founded the Vance Lumber Company in the late 1800s. The east lake has a 0.7-mile ADA approved paved trail that can be easily traversed by all skill levels. Alternatively, the west pond is approximately the same length but has a compact gravel surface.
A visit to Grays Harbor’s North Beach has a little something for everyone. Stroll along the beaches, through unique parks and more during an eventful day in the area.
Seabrook Community Trails
4275 State Route 105, Pacific Beach
The Seabrook Community Trails are located all throughout the quaint community on the North Beach. Admire breathtakingly beautiful Pacific Northwest-inspired architecture, a gnome trail that children will adore and a path directly down to the oceanfront. The trails and streets that connect the city are also great for walking and biking while the city itself is known for being one of the most dog friendly in the state.
Pacific Beach State Park
49 2nd Street South, Pacific Beach
Although there isn’t a major designated trail, Pacific Beach State Park is a great stop for those looking for a lowkey day trip at the beach. Run, skip and jump along 2,300 feet of picturesque ocean shoreline.
Overlake Street North East, Ocean Shores
Many who plan a visit to Ocean Shores don’t realize that the city also boasts a freshwater lake. While hiking, biking or strolling down Weatherwax Trail, visitors will loop through unique coastal forests and along the edge of Duck Lake for a total of 1.2 miles. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Most visits to Grays Harbor’s South Beach usually include a visit to the famed Westport Marina. But for those looking to appreciate the more rural portions of the area, plan a visit one of the trails and parks where there’s no shortage of salty air and idyllic views.
Westport Light Trail
1595 Ocean Avenue, Westport
Romance exudes from the two-mile Westport Light Trail. The city’s towering, historic lighthouse, the swaying beach grass and the level and paved path are something that can easily be enjoyed by all. Westport Light Trail is ADA-accessible and a wonderful option for those looking to spot a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean without fussing with the mess of the sand.
Twin Harbors State Park
3120 WA-105, Westport
Although there isn’t much of a designated trail to follow at Twin Harbors State Park, the beach is one of the most popular in the area, and for good reason. Park just feet from the beachfront where beach grass and sand dunes quickly give way into the flat, sandy beach. Dogs, kids and everyone in between will love to run along the shores searching for seashells, driftwood and other seaside artifacts to commemorate your journey.
Bottle Beach State Park
33 Ocosta 3rd Street, Aberdeen
Before visiting Bottle Beach State Park for the day, many will find it interesting to learn that the park sits on the site of Ocosta by the Sea, a now ghost town that once had big plans to be a station for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Today, the 64-acre state park features open tide flats that draw in various wildlife, 6,000 feet of shoreline and a boardwalk and trail lead past Redman Slough to a beachhead viewing shelter.
One of Washington State’s most spectacular features is the temperate rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula. The trails in the Quinault area, both easy and difficult, will bring you right into the deep green land that can only be described as awe-inspiring.
Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail
South Shore Road, Quinault
For those with a tight schedule that are still longing to stand amongst the mossy old-growth forests of a temperate rainforest, head straight to the Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail. The compact 0.5-mile looped trail includes a small waterfall sighting, interpretive signs and clusters of massive trees of various species all in one small area.
Maple Glade Forest and Kestner Homestead Trail
Drive north on Highway 101 from Hoquiam for 41 miles to Amanda Park. Turn right onto the North Shore Road and drive for 5.7 miles to the Olympic National Park ranger station where a trail begins nearby.
The Maple Glade and Kestner Homestead Trail is a short, 1.5-mile trail that takes visitors through a wonderfully preserved 1800s homestead. Relics from the past dot the area, including various buildings and equipment, an old barn and the home that the Kestner and Higley families once occupied. Be transported into the early days on the Olympic Peninsula while strolling through this fascinating area of Quinault.
Colonel Bob Wilderness Area
Both Colonel Bob Trailheads can be accessed near the Lake Quinault Lodge at 345 South Shore Road. Stop in for more information.
Colonel Bob Wilderness is made up of over 11,000 acres of heavily forested and mostly temperate rainforest land. Although various areas can be traversed and explored, most hikers set their sights on summiting Colonel Bob Mountain. There are two access points to the mountaintop, the less strenuous (but still challenging) of the two being Pete’s Creek Trail that’s 8.2 miles in length with an elevation gain of 3,300 feet. The even more difficult trailhead is Colonel Bob Trail, a 14.5-mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 4,200 feet. Both trails can be dangerous, full-day experiences that are only advised for very experienced and fit trekkers. For those that make the hike, be prepared for a tough climb, but you’ll be rewarded with towering conifers, delicate streams and an unapparelled view from the top.
The three cities in the center of Grays Harbor all boast trails that are great for breaking up a long drive and stretching out the legs. Most are shorter in length, but certainly don’t lack in the beautiful scenery department.
Elton Bennett Park
Grand Avenue, Hoquiam
One of Grays Harbor’s most famous artists, Elton Bennett (1910-1974), resided in Hoquiam where he worked to establish himself as an artist. His work depicted the unparalleled beauty of the Pacific Northwest coast and is still admired around the world. Bennett built an A-frame art studio on his property that overlooked the now Elton Bennett Trail, named in his honor. Visitors can now stroll through the heavily forested trail that’s just under 0.5 miles long.
Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
1131 Airport Way, Hoquiam
The Sandpiper Trail at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge is a contemplative place for visitors to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature. Access to the trail first requires a short walk along the paved path just to the side of the Hoquiam Airport. After just under half a mile is the trailhead onto the well-maintained boardwalk. If you’re lucky enough to visit in the spring, a walk on this trail provides a glimpse into the lives of thousands of shorebirds migrating from as far south as Argentina stopping to rest and feed in the area.
Parking is available at the end of Stanford Drive in Cosmopolis.
A little slice of heaven that’s perched on the hill in Cosmopolis is known as Makarenko Park. The 39-acre park features a large grassy field in the middle, ideal for soccer games or frisbee tossing, and over two miles of surrounding paved and gravel trails. Bring your bike for a fun trip through the thick evergreens.
Lake Swano Trail
Head to Grays Harbor College located at 1620 Edward P Smith Drive in Aberdeen. Pull into the first parking lot near the Bishop Center for the Performing Arts and drive to the east end to find the entrance to the trail against the forest.
Another family-friendly day trip to add the to-do list is Lake Swano Trail. At 1.5 miles long the easy to traverse trail is nestled in a second-growth forest that serves as an example of a healing watershed on the campus of Grays Harbor College. Local plant and animal life are abundant and can be used to teach children about the importance of protecting our natural surroundings. Leashed dogs are welcome to enjoy the scenery.
For a complete list of all of the trails in Grays Harbor, the Grays Harbor Tourism website. Please note, a Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, visit the Discover Pass web page.